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Architect Edward I. Nickerson was perhaps the most eclectic late 19th-century Providence architect. He owned a vast architectural library of both current and historic books (which found its way to the Providence Public Library’s collection), and seems here, as in most of his compositions, to have made extensive use of that source material for forms and details.

Like so many of his compositions in urban settings, the house’s overall massing is relatively restrained, a by-product to a degree of the ratio of house size to lot size: here, the house occupies more than 50 percent of its almost 5200-square-foot lot. (The ample side yard was originally a separate lot.) But what Nickerson lost in picturesque massing potential, he more than made up in elaborate detail and wide variety of surface materials. The current paint treatment very much emphasizes these characteristics.

On the interior, we find an open plan, where rooms flow one into another around and about the ample hallway. Particularly compelling is the way Nickerson manages to pull off an interesting spatial sequence in such a constrained building mass. Detail as well is lavish in the principal rooms, with different wood species in each. Cooke was a principal in the law firm Cooke & Angell, the predecessor to today’s Edwards & Angell.

— 2006 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook

This design by Edward I. Nickerson is tightly wound. Nickerson was the most flamboyant of Providence’s late nineteenth-century architects, and his love of extensive surface ornamentation is very evident here. Nickerson, who kept abreast of architectural trends if not always immediately following them, must have been aware of the trend toward more unified massing within the Queen Anne in the late 1880s. His response here seems strained, as if his usually fine juxtaposition of mass no longer worked (compare 77 Parade Street). Cooke was an attorney. 

— 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

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© 2024 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.